Animating Africa

Nowadays a growing number of Africans are engaged in making films with so much love and excitement; however, Africa,  relative to other regions of the world, has produced inadequate number of quality films due to many reasons. Cinematic art (moviemaking) in the continent is still in its baby steps, no doubt, but the industry is slowly booming.

Animation is one of those art forms that is increasingly becoming attractive to Africans. African animators, though small in number currently, appear determined to challenge Disney (Hollywood) and to tell the world that Africa’s stories are more than what such animations as The Lion King have to offer.

Here is a list of seven interesting animations and animators from within the continent. My favorite one from the list is domestic disturbance from Kenya; this piece is quite funny. And while you are at it, check out the following Ethiopian animators and animations:

  1. Ezra Wube, young Ethiopian artist, known for his creative stop-action animation pieces and unique paintings. (Based in the US)
  2. Biruktawit Tigabu, co-creator of Tsehai Loves Learning, an educational children’s TV program in Ethiopia that resembles the famous sesame street program. She was recently featured on CNN and TEDx. (Based in Ethiopia)
  3. Birhan Mulatu Desta, creator of the hilarious 3-D animation, Aleka Abebe, the first featured Ethiopian animation on YouTube. (Based in Canada) 
  4. Girma Zeleke, creator of the first Ethiopian animated doll, Senzero, featured on BBC Africa, among other outlets. (Based in Ethiopia)
  5. Temam Reja, an upcoming animator, creator of the 2-D Guragigna Dance animation piece, YaWe Way, which has wowed many Ethiopians. In my opinion, it’s one of the best animations that Ethiopians have created recently though I think it still has a room for improvement. It’s my second favorite after Aleka Abebe, which is very well crafted. (Based in Ethiopia) 
  6. Last but not least, the first feature length Ethiopian animation: 

Washaw (the cave), a trailer   

It is great that most of the Ethiopian animators use Amharic or other local languages as their medium of verbal communication, given the fact that their intended audiences are Ethiopians.

The future is promising! Animating Africa is exciting!


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